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US Space Force missile-warning satellite rockets into orbit

May 18, 2021 GMT
A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket carrying U.S. Space Force's fifth Space Based Infrared System Geosynchronous satellite (SBIRS GEO 5) for missile early-warning detection, lifts off from Space Launch Complex 41 at the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, Tuesday, May 18, 2021, in Cape Canaveral, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
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A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket carrying U.S. Space Force's fifth Space Based Infrared System Geosynchronous satellite (SBIRS GEO 5) for missile early-warning detection, lifts off from Space Launch Complex 41 at the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, Tuesday, May 18, 2021, in Cape Canaveral, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
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A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket carrying U.S. Space Force's fifth Space Based Infrared System Geosynchronous satellite (SBIRS GEO 5) for missile early-warning detection, lifts off from Space Launch Complex 41 at the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, Tuesday, May 18, 2021, in Cape Canaveral, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — A $1 billion missile-warning satellite for the U.S. Space Force rocketed toward orbit Tuesday.

It was the fifth in this series of space-based infrared system satellites. These advanced national security spacecraft are meant to replace the long-time Defense Support Program constellation of surveillance satellites.

United Launch Alliance sent the Atlas V rocket skyward from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. “Bird away,” ULA President Tory Bruno announced via Twitter.

The flight was delayed a day by a bad temperature sensor in ground equipment.

Lockheed Martin won a $1.86 billion contract for this satellite and the next one, due to launch next year. They’re intended for an orbit 22,300 miles (36,000 kilometers) high.

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